Subscriber login Close [x]
remember me
You are not logged in.

Wines in the press, April 11-12

Published:  14 April, 2009

What the newspaper wine critics had to say over the Easter break

What the newspaper wine critics had to say over the Easter break

The Guardian
An ethical approach to buying wine isn't straightforward, reports Victoria Moore.
When asked about her thoughts on Fairtrade wines she agreed that it does not just safeguard good working conditions, minimum prices and terms of trade, all of which help to protect smaller producers.

It also invests in development projects, building schools and universities and improving drinking water. "So," she says. "It feels churlish to admit the reason I rarely mention Fairtrade wines is that I've rarely enjoyed drinking one."

War on Want have issued a report called "Sour Grapes," which blames the power of the supermarkets that dominate the UK for squeezing suppliers to ensure lower prices and has generated headlines such as "Cape wine workers paid less than £4 per day."

Yet she says, this is far from the whole story when half the price of a £4 bottle of wine goes in taxes to the British government.

What to drink? Fairtrade Chilean Carmenère 2008, Curicó Valley (£4.99, Co-op). "Is a brilliant wine, it reminds me of brambles and cocoa nibs."

She adds: "For ethics of a different nature try the "classy, rounded," Ses'fikile Chardonnay 2008, South Africa (£6.99 Marks and Spencer), which is 100% owned by BEE (Black Economic Empowerment).

What did you give up for Lent? asks Anthony Rose. If it was wine, he says, "then you will be looking forward to some demi-sec''.

"I'm not much of a fan," he admits. "But if there's a right time for demi-sec Champagne, then Easter it is. Not just any demi-sec mind," Rose adds. "Because a lot are too yucky."

He recommends a "classy one''. Like Louis Roederer Carte Blanche, Demi-Sec NV, (£34-£40 Majestic, Harvey Nichols, Tanners).

Or Billecart-Salmon (£29.99-£39-99, Uncorked, Oddbins).

The most fitting wine for the religious this weekend Rose says is Vin Santo, Italy's holy wine.
"But it can be a bit too traditional for its own good," he explains.
One exception is the richly marmalade-y 2003 Cantine Leonardo Vin Santo Tegrino (around £19.99, 50cl Noel Young, 01223 566744).

The Observer
Brian Clough, when asked if he was the best football manager in the country replied, "I don't know about that, but I was in the top one".

Which reminds Tim Atkin MW of Rioja and Ribera del Duero, both considering themselves the "numero uno," of the Iberian wine scene.

Which of them is right? he asks. Rioja is bigger and better known, but it's Ribera that commands the higher prices and journalistic accolades, he says, with Pingus 2004 currently selling for around £700 a bottle.

Apparently King Juan Carlos's favourite tipple is Vega Sicilia and the soon-to-be-released 1999 Unico is "very classy, if a little tight lipped," (£225 Berry Bros & Rudd).

And the winner? asks Atkin. "Well the top Riberas are Spain's best reds, but Rioja makes a greater number of affordable well made wines. I'd call that a one-all draw."

Financial Times
Jancis Robinson MW says the trouble with the 2008 vintage Bordeaux that she tasted last week is that "it looks really rather good," and "certainly very much better than the wildly overpriced 2007".

Although she explains that it would have been much more convenient for interested parties if 2008, had have been even less successful than 2007, as in recognition of these straightened times they could have dramatically reduced the opening prices, or abandon the en primeurs campaign.

Proprietors of sought-after Bordeaux wines are still flush with the proceeds of the last few vintages, but it is the 2007s that are still sitting on the merchants' books, "unloved and unwanted".
And with the global economy as such Robinson explains that, "it's difficult to see these 2007s finding a ready market in the future - especially at the inflated prices at which they were offered."

She reports that last Monday Hubert de Boüard of St Émilion took everyone by surprise by announcing an opening price for his Ch Angélus at 40% less than his 2007.

Yet, the even more significant news, says Robinson, "is that even at this price Angélus 2008 is proving far from an easy sell".

The first growths could afford to sit out the 2008 en primeur campaign she explains, but some will pressured to announce opening prices just to get the market going.

And where they decide to pitch their prices will affect the négociants and those properties lower down the feeding chain.

" It makes it all the more remarkable," says Robinson, "that some of the most exciting wines I tasted last week came from relatively modest addresses."